Faith on Fire – Week 13
Hope you’re all doing OK and enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend!
Here’s this week’s summary post for the following verse:
“At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of god. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.” Acts 9:20-22
There is just so much in this verse! So if you haven’t already I would definitely encourage you to have a listen to Helen’s thought provoking Facebook Live session, that begins by highlighting that Saul began to preach “At once…”, with no delay, doubt or hesitation, demonstrating just what a powerful, dramatic and life-changing conversion it must have been! And Helen’s discussion goes much further into this which I found really helpful so do check it out if you haven’t already.
“Isn’t he the man who….”
Yes he absolutely was that man, but he had completely changed following his encounter with Jesus. And it’s amazing to think that we have access to the same Jesus and His transformational power! Yet I think we can still experience feelings of shame at times when thinking about ‘the old us’ or when wrestling with current struggles etc, but I’ve been feeling challenged recently to start ‘owning my story’ more because actually, the past has an important and significant part to play in our testimony of God’s goodness and transformational power in our lives (which is a continual and on-going process!) And of course for Paul, the very fact that yes he was, “the man who…”, brings even more significance and glory to God.
“And hasn’t he come here to take them…”
Nope! Although like someone else pointed out on the comments this week, it probably took a while for people to no longer be worried or suspicious of such a dramatic change of heart and intentions. Though once people realised this to be a ‘baffling’ but true and authentic change, it just made it all the more powerful!
So this is a good reminder for us not to let the assumptions of other people, whether based on their own, yours or other people’s pasts, prejudices or experiences put you off your race…..and equally as important, we must make sure we don’t let ourselves do the same to others either! God always has and always will use sinners, and His grace and mercy is incredible and for that I am eternally grateful! It also gives us hope for those we are still praying for, and as I once heard someone say, “Don’t take the score at half-time”, we serve a miraculous God!
I love being reminded about the story of Saul/Paul, as it’s so reassuring and incredible to know just how deeply Jesus can change, impact and transform hearts and lives!
So enjoy the rest of the bank holiday weekend and here’s our verse for next week:
“Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” Acts 11:25-26